I don’t think people realise how dangerous it can be, living in this part of the world. Do you, readers, recognise and appreciate the danger in which I have placed myself for your entertainment?
So there I am, returning from an invigorating trip to the swimming pool, and as I stuff my Bill Bryson book back into my bag and hop off the bus with an energetic bound I realise that I am incredibly hungry. This is, of course, one of the unfortunate things about getting off the bus within sight of a supermarket; particularly when you know that said supermarket has an extremely well-stocked Warm Snacks counter, with warm bread rolls, pizza slices, and all manner of sweet and savoury pastries.
However, still on an energy kick from my swim, and not wishing to undo all my good work just yet, I ignore Old Me’s request for a cheese and ham piruka and head swiftly to the Healthy Snacks section near the tills. Previously, you see, I have snacked upon a low-fat product called Lights – these are little crouton-like things, only much crunchier, and very tasty. Apart from the name, everything on the packaging is in Russian, but this has not been a problem with earlier purchases, as the pictures made it clear that the flavours were Cheese and Onion, and Sour Cream and Chives. And very nice they were, too.
Sadly, there is now only one flavour remaining on the shelves, and it is a flavour I have previously avoided as I can’t work out what the flavour is from the unfamiliar-looking picture on the packet. Disappointed, and unenthusiastic about the idea of purchasing an apple instead, I pick up one of the packs and peer closely at it. I attempt to transliterate the product description, but I am beyond hopeless at Russian, and quickly give up. I study the picture, thoughtfully. The only thing that it reminds me of is pomegranate seeds, and while this does strike me as an unusual flavour for crispy bread snacks, it does not scare me as much as, say, snail flavour, or sauerkraut flavour, or liver flavour might. I am not a fussy eater. There are relatively few things that I will absolutely refuse to eat. I decide to live dangerously, and purchase the unidentifiable Russian snacks.
Hungrily, and perhaps rather unwisely, I scoop out a handful of the little croutons and fill my mouth with them.
“Bleurrrrrrrghhhhh!” I gurgle somewhat unattractively as the taste of Evil Itself invades my mouth and begins to spread towards all my other senses. I cannot spit the foul things out, for I am cutting through the underground bus station, and am surrounded by people. It would not be at all civilised or polite to spray them with chewed-up Russian snacks.
“Groooooooghhhh!” I add as an afterthought, chewing and crunching for all I am worth in an effort to swallow them as quickly as I possibly can and rid my mouth of the worst experience it has ever had, my eyes screwed shut in a desperate attempt to block out the trauma.
Really, it should have been obvious that the little round orange things in the picture were fish eggs of some description. But while fish eggs might be fine as part of a sushi creation (as long as I don’t think about them being fish eggs), they are most certainly not fine as a recreated and incredibly pungent crunchy bread snack flavour.
Just so you know.